Top 10 QB NFL Draft Prospects: Where Does Ryan Mallett Rank?
It has been a truly great year for quarterbacks in the NCAA this year. We've seen vaunted offenses shred defenses from coast to coast.
Who's the best, though? What quarterbacks have the best chance of success at the next level? Where does Ryan Mallett rank amongst them?
This is a list of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NCAA, ranked in order of my opinion of their potential for the NFL.
No. 10: Blue Bronco Golden Boy Kellen Moore
Kellen Moore is a small guy that produces big results. He's been leading Boise State to outrageously successful seasons for the past three years.
He has more than 10,000 career passing yards, 99 touchdowns, and an astonishing interception record, with only 19 for the duration of his career.
Kellen's potential is tarnished by the pitiful strength of the schedule that his Blue Broncos navigate, but his intangibles are astonishing.
The man just doesn't make bad decisions, as is evidenced by his interception count. He also has an indomitable desire to win that has manifested itself in three truly successful Boise State seasons.
No. 9: Flying Under the Radar: Delaware's Pat Devlin
A lot of people don't know who Pat Devlin is, because he plays in the FCS.
Too bad for them.
Pat Devlin is a 6'4, 222 pound monstrosity that has gone from being a third string backup at Penn State to leading Delaware to a 12-2 record so far this year.
He has a 4.7 40 time, incredible accuracy, and an eerie ability to make something out of nothing. He's been a Walter Payton finalist and has shattered several Delaware QB records.
This is something of a shot in the dark pick, I'm aware, but Devlin's the real deal, and his play-making ability is going to send shock waves through the NFL in the future.
No. 8: A Seminole Saint: Christian Ponder
Florida State's quarterback Christian Ponder is a tremendous presence in the backfield with a dominant playing style and a cannon arm.
He's got more than 6,800 career passing yards and managed to throw 20 touchdowns during the 2010-2011 season.
He's 6'3, 220 pounds and led Florida State to an impressive bowl victory over South Carolina.
His decision-making ability coupled with his size and confidence in the pocket will bring him great success at the next level. Although he may not explode in his rookie season, we can reasonably expect him to be leading whoever drafts him to the playoffs in the future.
No. 8: Tremendous Tiger: Blaine Gabbert
Although Missouri wasn't able to cling to their top ranking for long, they still enjoyed a season full of phenomenal play from their star quarterback, Blaine Gabbert.
He's simply tremendous. He's 6'5, 240 pounds and has passed for more than 40 touchdowns over 6,800 yards during his three year tenure.
Gabbert's biggest quality is exactly that: his size. He's big enough to be able to see over the linemen and get a significant view of the field. He has the arm power to make the throws that the NFL coaches want and need.
He'll thrive in a pro system that will be centered around him and his big play ability. With a little more development, Gabbert will be a franchise QB.
No. 6: Washington Wonder: Jake Locker
Jake Locker and his Washington Huskies ended the season on a good note with a signature win over Nebraska, but Locker's numbers have not been what the preseason pundits predicted.
Despite this, Locker is a tremendous quarterback that will have an enormous impact in the NFL. He needs to be coached up a bit, but clearly any team that he's drafted to win in the NFL will have a better supporting staff than Locker has experienced during his tenure at Washington.
He's big, and he's got a big arm. He's smart, and he makes good decisions. He can be developed into a franchise quarterback with very little effort. Don't let the numbers this year lie to you. Jake Locker is the real deal, and he's got all the qualities of a successful NFL QB.
No. 5: Hothanded Hawkeye: Ricky Stanzi
157.63 passer rating, 3,000 yards plus, and 25 touchdowns with only six interceptions.
Ricky Stanzi, simply put, is a monster. He's big, he's smart, and he doesn't make bad choices.
No, seriously, the guy is incapable of making bad choices. He plays for a fabled Iowa program that centers their success around his arm.
He can't rush the ball very well at all; in fact, he accumulated negative rushing yards through the course of the season. The fact is, however, he's not building his resume on the idea that he's a dual threat QB like Mike Vick or the old Vince Young.
He's got the height to gain an advantageous look at the field, and he's got the power to make the throw under pressure.
Stanzi will quickly emerge as a successful NFL QB, and we can expect to see him start within a year or two.
No. 4: Super Sooner: Landry Jones
Landry Jones is an offensive juggernaut that is going to experience ridiculous amounts of success at the next level.
I have to be more specific, don't I? Well, allow me to indulge!
Jones has passed for over 7,900 yards and 64 touchdowns in TWO YEARS. He's reached the minimum age requirement for the NFL, and with the potential lockout looming, I think we'll see Landry declare for the draft a few years early.
He can throw the short ball, the deep ball, and he's a quick decision maker. He also has the ability to throw across the field laterally without losing too much height or velocity to make the ball a liability.
The Sooners' offense is simply outrageous. Landry Jones, DeMarco Murray, and Ryan Broyles form a three-headed monster that even Godzilla would shy away from.
Jones, though, is the key, and he's going to be the centerpiece of the game plan for whatever team he ends up playing for.
No. 3: Howitzer Hog: Ryan Mallett
Ryan Mallett is a pure pocket passer with an ICBM launcher where his right arm is supposed to be. He might've wanted to get that checked on, but I'm sure he'll settle with a probable first round draft pick.
The Razorbacks were a team that legitimately thought they could go to a National Championship game this year. They played well, racking up Petrino's best record so far at Arkansas at 10-2, with the school's first ever BCS game to be played tonight.
Mallett's arm strength is simply unmatched. He can put the ball anywhere on the field at any time, whether being flushed out of the pocket or not. He can make 40 yard side armed passes to the back of the endzone off his back foot. He's that strong.
He's also shattered more than 15 Arkansas career, single season, and stadium records.
He has had trouble controlling his emotions in the past, but those problems seem to have dissipated, and he led the Razorbacks to a few stunning end-of-the-game victories.
Mallett's size and arm strength have NFL scouts drooling. He will be a franchise quarterback, and I expect to see him start for one of the lower-tier NFL teams as soon as this season.
No. 2: Wicked War Eagle: Cam Newton
He won the Heisman. He led his team to the National Championship game. He navigated a gauntlet schedule through the SEC West and came out undefeated. He's 6'6", 255 with a 188 passer rating.
He's an unstoppable offensive juggernaut that's going to cause trouble for defenses in the NFL with his speed, strength, and unwillingness to make bad decisions.
Cam Newton singlehandedly lifted the Auburn Tigers to an undefeated season this year despite a sluggish defensive squad and playing from behind in multiple games, including the fabled Iron Bowl.
If you put Cam Newton on the field, he's going to win the game for you, whether he has to run over people or pick their defenses apart. Regardless of who is on the field with him, Cam's going to come through in the clutch and take the W through sheer willpower.
Physically, mentally, and abrasively dominant, Cam Newton is the real deal.
No. 1: Cardinal Crusher: Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck is the best QB in the 2011 Draft Class, and it's for good reason. A preseason favorite to compete for the Heisman, Andrew has met or exceeded all expectations.
He racked up more than 3,300 passing yards this season and maintained a whopping 170 passer rating. He isn't as fast as Cam Newton, but managed to rack up 450 yards rushing this season and averaged 8.2 yards a carry.
The difference between Newton and Luck is in their style. Andrew Luck will immediately be able to be inserted into a professional, NFL style offense. He'll also immediately be able to succeed in that system.
As far as decision making ability, Luck is simply unmatched. It's the equivalent of having an offensive coordinator taking your snaps. He can take what the defense gives him, before or during a play, and manage to rip even the most dominant PAC 10 defenses to pieces.
He's slippery, he's fast, he's huge, he's strong, he's smart. He's everything you could possibly want in a quarterback rolled into one 6'4" tall package.
Watch for Luck to go early, start immediately, and change the entire dynamic of whichever team is lucky enough to snag him.